Shaymin EX (Next Destinies NXD 5/94) – Card of the Day

joystiq.com
Use the (Revenge) Blast to get through!

Hey SixPrizes. Taking a request off the forums from RisingDawn, I’m going to be reviewing Shaymin EX, a card that’s received a bit of hype since its release, and has sort of wormed its way in to the metagame in a few decks, seeing some success in a couple. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Stats (the stuff you already know)

Shaymin EX is a Grass type weak to Fire that resists Fighting. That is all looking good so far. Fire in this metagame has taken a downturn in playability. Grass typing doesn’t add much, but at least it gets to hit Terrakion NVI for super-effective damage. The Resistance to Fighting is a nice plus since Fighting is the counter-metagame right now.

Then you find out it only has 110 HP. Ouch. It’s not as though Fighting was going to 1HKO it anyway, so the Resistance makes practically no difference outside of being able to use an Eviolite to force a PlusPower from a couple of Terrakion Retaliates. Finally, one Retreat is pretty good. It is at least retreatable, and also gets free retreat with Skyarrow Bridge.

Bulbapedia
More HP than Shaymin EX.

So why bother using Shaymin EX? After all, it’s an EX which gives up 2 Prizes, and has the lowest HP of any EX in print (both in Japan and North America; even Mew-EX has 120 HP). Well, its first attack is nothing to write home about. Synthesis isn’t a bad attack by any means. It’s just that, if you’re using it, you must be out of options because there’s no better way of telling your opponent you’d like them to take 2 Prizes, than to leave a Shaymin EX out without even attacking with it.

On a non-EX, this attack would be pretty great actually. It could provide you with early-game acceleration to ensure a turn two attack, like Thundurus EPO’s Charge, except better since you can attach the Energy to any Pokémon.

Well the second attack is why Shaymin EX deserved any hype at all. This card is potentially the strongest late-game finisher in the format. Revenge Blast reads “30+: Does 30 more damage for each Prize card your opponent has taken.” Quick math anyone? That’s a cap of 180 damage when your opponent has taken 5 Prize cards. And it only costs two energy. That sounds bloody brilliant.

Of course, this also means it can 1HKO Terrakions and Eelektriks after your opponent has taken only 2 Prize cards, and opposing non-EX’s after your opponent has only taken three or 4 Prize cards. The 5th prize taken is somewhat inconsequential, but it does get through 130HP basics with Eviolite.

How to use Shaymin EX (the stuff you probably know)

pokemon-paradijs.com
Screw the prizes, I have Shaymin.

Since Shaymin EX is so easily killed, and gives up 2 Prizes, it’s rarely advisable to use it in the early game. Shaymin is pretty much only in decks to be played after your opponent has taken 5 Prize cards, nullifying Shaymin’s EX cost. To get the best mileage out of Shaymin EX, it’s best to play it while also killing your opponent’s opportunity to respond. The most obvious combo that comes to mind is using an N on the turn you bring out Shaymin EX.

Considering you should be about to lose the prize race, or are at best tied, N means you kill your opponent’s hand giving them only 1 card and a top deck to respond to your Shaymin EX. In the meantime, Shaymin EX can threaten 180 damage per turn, which can easily turn the tides in your favor.

However, though playing N was standard fare last format, there is one more option out there that is now playable, that can help kill your opponent’s hand to aid Shaymin’s sweep. More on that later…

Decks that can use Shaymin EX (the stuff you might not know)

CMT

The most obvious deck that Shaymin EX slots right into is CMT. Celebi gives your Shaymin EX the Grass acceleration it needs to be a surprise drop at the end of the game, and your other big hitters will hopefully tempt your opponent into dropping their own EX’s, making Shaymin’s sweep go by quicker (provided they don’t already have a response).

pokemon-paradijs.com
Has anyone ever used the attack “Time Circle,” ever?

Shaymin EX also helps make the Terrakion matchup more of an auto-win, even though it was already a favorable matchup thanks to Tornadus EX. Shaymin’s ability to easily swing for 1HKOs on Terrakion without being revenge-killed is something only Virizion EPO or Virizion NVI can do.

ZekEels

Shaymin EX sees very little play in ZekEels for reasons I will outline below, but it is certainly easily splashed in. All Shaymin EX needs to function is a couple Grass or Prism Energy, which can also allow ZekEels to tech the likes of Terrakion NVI for a better matchup against the mirror and other Dark decks.

Eelektrik provides Shaymin EX with Revenge Blast’s Colourless cost, meaning you can drop it out of nowhere and have it fully charged. Finally, ZekEels is one of the best “N” decks around, since it plays from the board and discards far more than the hand. So you can afford to N yourself down to only two or three cards.

Initial D.EX (Klinklang + EX’s)

With Shaymin EX’s low attack cost, Shaymin makes the perfect late-game sweeper for EX Corners to bust out after you’ve lost some of your energy in an exchange. As long as you could retain at least one Rainbow-type Energy on the field, Shaymin EX can be charged for that turn and hit back hard.

pokemon-paradijs.com
Initial D. It’s a racing anime. Look it up.

Unfortunately, Shaymin EX sort of runs antithetical to the whole philosophy behind Klinklang + EX’s since you won’t get to tank with it and use Max Potion much. But Shaymin EX is pretty much doomed to only be a late-game card anyway.

If you opted to use the Meganium Prime build, then Shaymin EX becomes even easier to set up. But at the same time, it’s not as though KlingKlang has much trouble setting Shaymin EX up anyway.

Deck and Cover (Accelgor + Item lock)

Deck and Cover is a deck I’ve played around a lot with, and I never really wanted to use Shaymin EX (again, reasons below). But Shaymin certainly works with the deck. After all, the deck is designed to go behind in prizes, only to set up a lock and come back. However, it can be difficult maintaining the flow of the lock throughout.

Shaymin EX’s role in Deck and Cover is to provide relief and give Deck and Cover an out to maintaining it’s loop two or three more times just to close out the game. This can be clutch, definitely. But by the time you’ve got your loop up, you usually are swimming, not sinking.

ReshiPhlosion

ReshiPhlosion is a deck fastened upon its past accomplishments. It’s not as though the deck has lost any of its tools for success, it’s just that new tools have come out (Eelektrik NVI) that surpass its own in efficiency and speed. That said, just as Shaymin EX can be teched into ZekEels, it can be teched into ReshiPhlosion as well.

pokemon-paradijs.com
I wrote the lyrics of “Fire in the Disco” on my R Energies for my ReshiPhlosion deck.

In fact, it may even be a better fit in ReshiPhlosion since the deck is now “slower,” and will be playing from close behind more often. The deck is also fairly N-proof since its philosophy is very similar to ZekEels.

Durant

Durant’s ability to disrupt in this format is amongst the best. This makes it a prime deck to use Shaymin EX in; Shaymin acts as a “Hail Mary” sweeper, which aims to try and take a full 5-6 Prizes without giving your opponent a chance to come back. The other option Durant techs for this scenario is Mewtwo EX, but Shaymin doesn’t require you to dilute your Energy lines since you already run Rainbow or Prism Energies for the surprise Rotom UD.

That said, I wouldn’t recommend Shaymin EX for Durant, since rarely do you want to make your backup strategy reliant on your opponent getting bad top decks. Shaymin EX is also pretty ineffective against ZekEels or ReshiPhlosion.

Darkrai EX/Weavile UD

pokemon-paradijs.com
In the immortal words of Bart Simpson: “Yoink”

Remember that alternate disruption I mentioned earlier? Weavile is that card. Just as a good N can seal your opponent’s fate, a good Claw Snag can leave your opponent helpless. And Shaymin EX is one card that can take advantage of an opportunity for a late-game sweep. It’s even still possible to save it as a surprise if you run Shaymin UL, by using Dark Patch in combination with Shaymin UL to charge up Shaymin EX on the same turn you drop it.

The Problem (the stuff less people know)

Shaymin EX is a card with great potential, and a great attack (albeit situational). So why don’t we see more winning lists running Shaymin EX? The answer is twofold.

One, Shaymin EX is kind of a “win more” card. As odd as that sounds since it’s such a comeback-oriented card. The reason I say it’s a “win more” card is because every scenario I outlined where you could use Shaymin EX effectively, another attacker would also suffice. Any competent attacker combined with game-killing disruption is a good late-game strategy!

Shaymin EX may be one of the best cards to take advantage of it, but Shaymin EX is such a one-trick pony that you’re dedicating a whole slot in your decklist to the chance that you will:

One trick pony.

a) Be losing

b) Be able to disrupt your opponent. And…

c) Win before your opponent can recover from your disruption.

The fact of the matter is, conditions need to be near perfect for this to be an effective strategy. Granted, you can try and manipulate the game to make conditions as perfect as possible, but there is no guarantee that your opponent won’t be able to top deck a recovery card. And as I mentioned earlier, decks that play from the board/discard pile like ZekEels and ReshiPhlosion are relatively unfazed.

On top of that, Empoleon DEX also gets to recover from late-game disruption pretty easily. If it weren’t for these three decks (and I’d add, two of them being played quite often at the moment), Shaymin EX might find more niche-space in people’s lists. However, as it stands, Shaymin EX is just too situational and not helpful enough to warrant a spot in most people’s lists.

It's Wednesday, there's nothing good on TV, conditions are perfect.

And the second reason we don’t see Shaymin EX in more tournament-winning lists is because Shaymin EX can accidentally become your starter, and is completely useless until the end of the game, provided you’re losing. By including Shaymin EX, you’re essentially playing with only 59 cards at your disposal until your opponent has taken enough Prize cards that it’s worth dropping Shaymin EX.

If you fancy yourself a deckbuilder, you can probably appreciate how troublesome it already is to cram everything you want into 60 cards. Now try 59.

Artwork (the stuff that… well… it’s the artwork section)

Hoo boy do we get a treat! Shaymin EX has TWO artworks to review here. Let’s start with the regular version shall we?

pokemon-paradijs.com
Not Deoxys, nor Mewtwo.

This is something I would never have noticed had I not written this article, but Shaymin’s snout is very pronounced in this picture. I rather appreciate the leaves dancing around the edges of the card, it’s a really nice touch. But unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of Shaymin’s “Burst out of the border” artwork. Shaymin’s demeanor is relatively calm and calculating, and it just doesn’t suit it to be so boisterous.

The background (hardly visible through all the sparkles) is also a bit puzzling to me. Why is Shaymin in space? Perhaps that’s why it’s so eager to burst through the card. Being in outer space without a helmet on… it’s not as nice as “not being in outer space without a helmet on.”

The Full Art version I’m more a fan of though. Here, Shaymin is displaying its true nature (in my opinion). The pose kind of seems awkward when I look at it closely though. I mean, Shaymin is lifting its legs one way, turning its head another, and looking straight at you.

pokemon-paradijs.comI’m not so sure it can decide where it wants to go. But the background leaf swirl is rather nice, and the texturing I feel does real justice to making this card look rather pretty. Despite my previous comment, I really actually rather like the pose and the way Shaymin is drawn here. I might go so far as to say this is one of my favorite artworks on cards in the current format.

Conclusion

2000+ words later and what have we learned? Shaymin EX is a good card, but too nichey to be a great card. Its presence can certainly be felt in the metagame, and with the proper setup it can be dominating. But the fact of the matter is, that Shaymin EX’s role is too specific, and not useful enough that most people would bother to include it in their lists.

I’m not going to give Shaymin EX a number rating. I feel more and more that number ratings are too superficial to mean anything. Let’s just say that Shaymin EX would be a brilliant card if it weren’t for all of the power creep that has accompanied it in the BW block.

Cheers

Crawdaunt out

P.S. Initial D.EX isn’t my name for the Klinklang + EX’s, I just like it.

Reader Interactions

16 replies

  1. Sam Marshall-Smith

    Weavile’s caption was more than enough to get a like from me.

  2. Mark Hanson

    lmao… the thumbnail on the main site is the Starfox picture xD

  3. Micah Tate

    LOL at the Flight of the Concords reference! Double Shaymin combo in dark deck would be interesting to see. I’ve always really enjoyed Shaymin EX and really enjoyed this article as well, nice job :D

  4. wavedash wavedash

    Nice to see you’re shying away from numerical ratings. Keep up the great work!

    • Mark Hanson  → wavedash

      Well, the thing is… With every new set the cards on the fringe of being good (tier 3-4) could become tier 1. And the cards in tier 1 could become fringey. So even if you gave it a number, it might not be that number in a couple months.

  5. bowser

    thanks for your review. shaymin-ex is attractive to low tier players (just like black belt and twins) that are nearly always behind. i didn’t catch it being mentioned, but in addition to N, Pokemon catcher is also an important card to play with Shaymin. my ideal situation is being down prize cards taken 3-5, using shaymin-ex for a KO, taking a hit, and then catchering an EX for the 2 prize KO and the win. yeah… i’ve done it only once. (-:

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